: In a new adaptation of Stephen King’s classic thriller from the producers of The Invisible Man, a girl with extraordinary pyrokinetic powers fights to protect her family and herself from sinister forces that seek to capture and control her. For more than a decade, parents Andy (Zac Efron; Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile; The Greatest Showman) and Vicky (Sydney Lemmon; Fear the Walking Dead, Succession) have been on the run, desperate to hide their daughter Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong; American Horror Story: Double Feature, The Tomorrow War) from a shadowy federal agency that wants to harness her unprecedented gift for creating fire into a weapon of mass destruction. Andy has taught Charlie how to defuse her power, which is triggered by anger or pain. But as Charlie turns 11, the fire becomes harder and harder to control. After an incident reveals the family’s location, a mysterious operative (Michael Greyeyes; Wild Indian, Rutherford Falls) is deployed to hunt down the family and seize Charlie once and for all. Charlie has other plans. 


If you have no idea Firestarter 2022 is based on a Stephen King novel of the same name or it’s a remake of the 1984 version starring a very young Drew Barrymore then you might enjoy this one a lot because it’s sort of a more “grounded” version of X-Men if that is a consolation.

Due to some trial experimental drugs administered to them when they were in college, Andy (Zac Efron) and his wife, Vicky (Sydney Lemmon) developed telepathic and telekinetic powers respectively. As a result, their young daughter, Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) developed supernatural power as well, pyrokinesis to be exact. As the story goes, she is turning 11 and she is finding it hard to control her powers.

Captain Jane Hollister (Gloria Reuben), leader of the Department of Scientific Intelligence (DSI) decides to rein in Charlie and enlisted another superhuman being, Rainbird (Michael Greyeyes) to hunt the pair of father and daughter down.

Despite having Oscar winning writer and producer Akiva Goldsman onboard, there’s hardly any due care being put on the script. Stripped away from all the complexities and nuances of the source material, this updated version is not much different from all the Marvel movies we have seen from the last decade. The main characters are modelled after Charles Xavier, Jean Grey and Pyro and they are on the run from the law.

The plot line is so simplistic, inconsequential that you probably won’t bother about the fate of Andy and Charlie or why there’s this weird experiment in the first place. There’s nothing to shout about, acting wise. This being a recent Blumhouse production, the visual and special effects are bizarrely unconvincing and cheap. The production values are seriously worse than a TV pilot. Pretty surprised this actually makes to the big screen in the States.

As to why you might actually like it or appeal to the general audiences, Firestarter is so darn silly, absurd and visually shocking if you are the sort who love watching every of Charlie’s victims turns into a fireball in an instant and that includes a poor kitty cat. Ultimately, it’s a forgettable title that probably even Zac Efron himself wants to burn all the copies.


Review by Linus Tee



Genre: Thriller
Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Zac Efron, Sydney Lemmon, Kurtwood Smith, John Beasley, Gloria Reuben
Director: Keith Thomas
Rating: M18
Year Made: 2022



Languages: English
Subtitles: English
Running Time: 1 hr 34 mins